30 May 2008

It's time to butcher another Sacred Cow! I call the short ribs and brisket!

This time Apple will be the subject of my ire. Not so much Apple themselves, as I have a hearty respect for their marketing staff which has succeeded in making highly desirable products merely by sticking a lowercase letter in front a noun (any noun) and encasing them in fancy white plastic.

But let's get down to it, shall we?

1. Using a MacBook Makes You Nothing More Than a Technology Consumer
Mark that. Owning an iBook/MacBook/iMac or whatever does not make you, inherently, any of the following:
  • Intelligent
  • Creative
  • Discerning
  • Stylish
  • Ahead of the curve
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Quirky or unique
  • Productive
  • Attractive to the opposite (or same) sex
2. A Linux Distribution You Have To Pay For
Apple ditched 17 years of its old operating system, Mac OS, to create a Unix based operating system in OS X. You want Unix? Get it for free in one of hundreds, maybe thousands of different Linux distributions. There's nothing particularly special about Mac OS X versus other Unix-based operating systems other than a few bundled freebie apps with clever "i" based names. And with base PC laptops for only a few hundred dollars with a free Linux OS, how much was it you paid for that MacBook Pro?

3. Get Over It, Apple Is Not Ahead of the Curve
Apple has done the about-face a number of times, and each time they move further away from their own independent path and closer to the mainstream of Microsoft and other companies. Examples include:
  • The final inclusion of right mouse buttons
  • Ditching Apple's PowerPC processor for mainstream PC Intel chips
  • Again, the dumping of Mac OS for an OEM-branded version of Unix
  • AppleTalk to TCP/IP
4. Don't Be Evil
Apple consumers tend to feel that Apple is a much more peaceful, friendly, and non-evil corporation than the Dark Lord Gates and his MS Empire. I'm not sure where this impression comes from...perhaps the friendly looking Happy Mac icon on boot-up:

But seriously, Happy Mac notwithstanding, you're talking about a company that mass-produces electronics in China, and is more restrictive than any other consumer software company in existence about what hardware you can use. They've relaxed their stance on this slightly in recent years (see Point 3) but Microsoft simply provides an operating system and allows you to install on any system you want, with generally open standards on what parts are inside the computer. Apple is much more restrictive about you buying their parts. Forcing consumers to pay out the nose for Apple authorized accessories sounds a bit like a greedy evil faceless corporation doesn't it?

5. Apples Don't Get Viruses?
Well, neither do these:

21 May 2008

In a stunning example of Neufeld Echo Syndrome, Jonah Goldberg has a column today that parallels several posts I've made on here; albeit, much more professionally expressed than mine, but still, nice to know others have arrived at similar conclusions:

Church of Green - Jonah Goldberg

14 May 2008

Behold the mystery meat!

So I had a frozen 2lb pack of what were labelled "St. Louis Style Ribs" in the freezer. To a BBQ fiend, St. Louis style ribs mean only one thing, a rack of pork spare ribs trimmed substantially into a much more palatable rack of ribs. I unthawed these and unfolded (yes, unfolded!) them into some very thin racks of "mini ribs". Rather confusing! Nonetheless I smoked them for 3 hours, followed with an hour in the oven in some liquid, covered with foil. When they came out, the meat had shrunk an enormous amount, as you can see above. After posting the items on a grilling forum, I was informed that what I most likely had was beef short ribs, trimmed Korean style.

Still, it was good. Shown with a cherry mead (the acid of the Montmorency cherries and the overall sweetness of the mead pair wonderfully with rich, fatty meats like ribs) and a bottle of LC's hot BBQ sauce. The beans are plain old canned beans with some BBQ sauce, smoked with the ribs and finished up in the oven. Strange stuff though...likely a labelling mishap with the meat packing company.

06 May 2008

In my post from yesterday, I was discussing a certain religious leader that claimed that particular cataclysmic weather events were just punishment for sin...and today, more of the same!

Al Gore Calls Myanmar Cyclone a Consequence of Global Warming
Yes, another zoo post ("don't you judge me!"). This one after I had splurged for a larger memory card, so yes, it's a bit longer.

First up, a quick stop on the way to Africa at the well hidden "Poultry Section" to see a rather friendly turkey. No wonder he's friendly. What a great gig for a turkey, comparatively speaking.

Now a few pictures of the warthog in all his glory:

Would you say dry rub, or marinade?

I think the tougher meat would benefit from a marinade, something acidic to tenderize it.

Certainly a prime candidate for a low and slow hickory smoke.

Back on track. This bird was doing such a strange trick I had to get a picture of it. It looks like one of those strange distorted perspective tricks, but he is really sitting down on the lower half of his legs, with his "knees" bent 90 degrees THE OTHER WAY. Looked really strange, I tell you.

A yawning duiker.

Now onto the African birds exhibit. Forgive the blurriness but this was an interesting enough bird to include anyway.

A pair of brightly coloured...oh who am I kidding, "birds" is as specific as I am going to get.

I remember this hairstyle from the 80s.

Ahhh! The Mister Burns bird!

Seriously, how can you not love a bird that looks like Mister Burns?

Strange sort of duck. Hey, at least that's more specific than "bird". Don't-you-judge-me!

I used to have the inexpensive version of this bird, mine was a budgerigar. This is a parrot or parakeet of some variety.

I think that is a bird...

Blue billed ducks. No, that is not their name. That I know of...maybe it is!

Another shot...

...and we're out of the aviary. Next up, the ever-fierce sausage roll of a rodent, the comically neck-less Rock Hyrax, striking a "I will feed on the entrails of your progeny!" pose.

The rhinoceros.

A pair of zebras:

A pair of zebras: (wait didn't I already do this caption?)

A pair of zeb....*ahem* I mean here's the weird velociraptor bird over by the zebra/giraffe area:

A closeup...he appears to share the same interest in ascertaining the colour of my insides as the Rock Hyrax.

Asleep maybe?


Finally an unusually modest photo of our favourite exhibitionist primates. No, I am not referring to _______ [fill in the blank to make your own popular culture joke].

05 May 2008

A few assorted topics today.

First, I like our office coffee: Green Mountain Coffee. Admittedly it is preground in little vacuum packs, but it is still great coffee, far exceeding the burnt popcorn taste of the Folgers I choke down at home sometimes. I liked it better before when it was a darker roast, but they changed it to the Breakfast Blend to suit milder tastes within the office, and it is still good.

Last week, a coworker came in to the break room and started grousing about how awful our coffee was. She poured a cup and then proceeded to douse it in flavoured creamers and sugar. I'd seen her bring froo-froo Starbucks coffee drinks in before.

Why is it that people that obscure coffee with layers of non-dairy creamer and cane sugar think they have any way to judge a coffee? That is like a teenage guitarist that always puts the distortion on his cheap solidstate amp on "10" saying that the hand carved archtop jazzbox he is trying out in the store doesn't have good tone compared to his $150 Ibanez. Of course it doesn't sound as good when you layer tons of obscuring effects/flavorings over it! Just pour a cup of coffee and enjoy it as it is meant to be!

Sorry, I just get a bit defensive when people attack my coffee.

From the culinary arts, we turn to religion.

John Hagee is at the center of a political brouhaha involving McCain, because he (a McCain backer) had previously claimed that Hurricane Katrina was sent by God as punishment of the sin of New Orleans, specifically referencing homosexuality. Of course, this has a number of people upset for all the wrong reasons. People will see it as racist/intolerant/homophobic and what-have-you, but I disagree that the statement is couched in those sentiments. I will say, however, that the statement is foolish and illogical.

Whenever people get into the "this is God's judgement!" game, they are presuming God's motives. To meet up with their inordinately small mindset on why these things happen, they have to focus only on the certain incidents that match their preconceived view of God's judgment. So John Hagee speaks of New Orleans, but leaves off discussion of why God brought His judgment upon the surrounding coastal regions that were also hit very hard by the hurricane. I did not hear him speaking of God's wrathful judgment being brought down on Greensburg, Kansas, and I have yet to hear his opinions on why God levelled a certain neighborhood in North Kansas City last week.

It just strikes me as very naïve and simple to start asserting why God does certain things, because things like destructive weather, and the reason it occurs, are beyond human reasoning, and you look like a silly fool when you say Katrina was God judging sin, then someone asks you what God was judging when he sent a tornado to destroy Grandpa's farmhouse.

The irony is that God has already judged us, and we are already sentenced. The Bible says "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). In John 3:18, it speaks of how those who do not believe are "condemned already". To say that a tragedy like New Orleans is somehow particularly "judgment of sin" is misleading, because all have sinned, and all are under penalty of death from the wages of sin. And "in Adam, all die" (1Cor 15:22), and one hardly needs to look to Bible verses for that truth, as death visits us all, whether an untimely death of a young person or a quiet passing of an older person. So one could say all death is judgment of sin, starting with the fall of Adam. When one calls out specific instances to claim that they are special judgment, like in Hagee's case, it looks like he's saying that the sins people associate with New Orleans are somehow worse in God's eyes than the somewhat more universal sins of pride, covetousness, selfishness, greed, malice, and envy. I don't think God has a sin ranking system...but John Hagee apparently does have one.

Lastly, listened to Jeff Adams' sermon on Thomas the Apostle today, which was interesting. Debra and I have long been apologists for the characters in the Bible that get somewhat villified...Martha and "Doubting Thomas" spring to mind. Thomas in particular gets a lot of sneers because he doubted before he saw Jesus. But before we judge him too harshly, remember what happened with the other disciples. The ladies come to the tomb, and Mary eventually sees Jesus, and they run and tell the disciples:

Mark 16:11: And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

Luke 24:11: And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

So the disciples were slow to believe until they actually saw Jesus, just the same as Thomas. Just a word in his favor, since he has been derided as "Doubting Thomas" for centuries.